I wouldn’t dare go near drugs after watching these films.
April 14 marks America’s D.A.R.E Day against drug abuse. For those who don’t know, D.A.R.E (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) started in the 80’s and is an educational program implemented nationwide that seeks to deter drug consumption and violent behavior. In honor of National D.A.R.E Day, DMG Entertainment has compiled a list of films that will keep anyone away from addictive substances. Word of warning: These films pull no punches. They will show you the very real dangers of addiction. So strap yourself in and get ready to get a dose of reality.
SID AND NANCY (1986)
Director: Alex Cox
Starring: Gary Oldman, Chloe Webb, David Hayman, Courtney Love
Summary: Based on the true story of “The Sex Pistols” famed bassist Sid Vicious (Gary Oldman), the film focuses on the destructive relationship between Sid and his equally drug-addict girlfriend Nancy Spungen (Chloe Webb). The Most “Sobering” Moment: Sid and Nancy’s final argument. Fun Facts: Sid Vicious’ mother gave Gary Oldman Sid’s actual necklace to wear for the film.
DRUGSTORE COWBOYS (1989)
Director: Gus Van Sant
Starring: Matt Dillon, Kelly Lynch, James Le Gros, Heather Graham
Summary: In the 1970s, Bob (Matt Dillon) and his wife Dianne (Kelly Lynch) assemble a crew of robbers to stick up pharmacies so they can satisfy their drug cravings. When one of their crew members overdoses, Bob decides to join a methadone program to cure his addiction. However, he soon discovers the difficulties of staying sober and keeping out of trouble. The Most “Sobering” Moment: Bob’s cold reaction when he discovers his crew member’s overdosed body. Fun Facts: DRUGSTORE COWBOYS is a personal favorite of Matt Dillon, Conan O’Brien and Justin Long.
THE PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK (1971)
Director: Jerry Schatzberg
Starring: Al Pacino, Kitty Winn, Alan Vint, Richard Bright
Summary: A charismatic drug addict named Bobby (Al Pacino) introduces a soft-spoken homeless woman named Helen (Kitty Winn) to his life in Needle Park, a hangout for drug dealers and addicts. To win Bobby’s affection, Helen immerses herself in Needle Park’s drug culture and becomes an addict as well. When Needle Park runs out of drugs, their lives quickly spiral out of control. The Most “Sobering” Moment: Bobby and Helen discover their recently purchased puppy fell off the ferryboat.
Fun Facts: There is no music in THE PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK.
THE BASKETBALL DIARIES (1995)
Director: Scott Kalvert
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Lorraine Bracco, Marilyn Sokol, Mark Wahlberg
Summary: Based on a true story, THE BASKETBALL DIARIES follows Jim Carroll’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) descent into heroin addiction. Although Jim has a promising future in basketball, he turns to drugs to help cope with a dying friend and an abusive coach. When Jim’s mother discovers his drug use, she kicks him out of the house, sending him into the dark world of crime. The Most “Sobering” Moment: Jim’s mother calls the cops on her own son instead of letting him inside their home.
Fun Facts: This is the first film with Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Wahlberg. Eleven years later they reunited in the Academy award winning film THE DEPARTED (2006).
CHRISTIANE F (1981)
Director: Uli Edel
Starring: Natja Brunckhorst, Eberhard Auriga, Peggy Bussieck, Lothar Chamski
Summary: Bored with life in West Berlin, a 14-year-old Christiane (Natja Brunckhorst) decides to check out Sound, a new rave club. Although she’s too young to go in legally, she dolls herself up and sneaks into the club. At the club, Christiane meets Detlef (Thomas Haustein), a local drug addict. Detlef introduces Christiane to a variety of drugs and gradually sucks her into a life of addiction and desperation.
The Most “Sobering” Moment: Christiane and Detlef try to break their addiction, however the symptoms of withdrawal are too much for them to handle.
Fun Facts: Many of the film’s extras were real life drug addicts and prostitutes.
THE LOST WEEKEND (1945)
Director: Billy Wilder
Starring: Ray Milland, Jane Wyman, Phillip Terry, Howard Da Silva
Summary: Unsuccessful writer Don Birnam (Ray Milland) struggles with a crippling alcohol addiction. Despite Don’s attempts at sobriety, he succumbs to temptation and goes on a weekend-long binge. Don goes to great lengths to quench his thirst, willing to abandon his dignity, body and sanity.
The Most “Sobering” Moment: Don tries to sell his typewriter.
Fun Facts: Billy Wilder picked up the book, “The Lost Weekend”, while traveling from New York to Hollywood by train. By the time he arrived in Hollywood, Wilder had decided to make the book into a film.
Director: Danny Boyle
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Kelly Macdonald
Summary: Set in an undeveloped area of 1980s Edinburgh, Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) and his crew of drug addicted friends live a life of debauchery. Although surrounded by addicts and hooligans, Renton decides to quit heroin. Despite numerous attempts to curb his addiction, Renton struggles to stay clean and give up the lifestyle.
The Most “Sobering” Moment: Renton’s friend discovers her baby has died from neglect.
Fun Facts: The Worst Toilet in Scotland was actually decorated with chocolate because of its similar color and texture to… well… you get the idea.
REQUIEM FOR A DREAM (2000)
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Starring: Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, Marlon Wayans
Summary: Set in Coney Island, four individuals, Sara Goldfarb (Ellen Burstyn), Harry Goldfarb (Jared Leto), Marion Silver (Jennifer Connelly), and Tyrone C. Love (Marlon Wayans) turn to drugs to gain a better life. Despite their initial caution, their lives spin tragically out of control as they succumb to their addictions.
The Most “Sobering” Moment: Toss up between Sara’s electric shock therapy and Harry’s arm.
Fun Facts: Darren Aronofsky shot the film with a sequence of short shots to give the audience the feeling of losing control. An average 100-minute movie has 600-700 cuts, but REQUIUEM FOR A DREAM contains over 2,000.